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Storming the beaches

Old 06-06-2015, 06:44 AM
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Default Storming the beaches

I like watching WWII documentaries, but every time I see our boys storming the beaches at Normandy I say to myself, what a ridiculous waste of lives. It just seems insane for us to have allowed so many young men to go unprotected onto those beaches.

I'm sure the generals of the day were a whole lot smarter then me but I still feel this way,

Anyone else?
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:02 AM
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Yes tactics typically lag technology and what should be best practices. Many examples in almost all wars particularly with the Franco-Prussian war of 1870s and US civil war 1860s and later when technology was changing fast. Generals historically old and best suited for fighting "the last war". Having said that there is no good way to invade a continent. It seems bombardment/bombing on the beaches to create craters for concealment of the landing troops did not happen as planned. Likely due to the desire to avoid friendly fire casualties, bombs/shells too far inland and not enough on the beach itself. Navy destroyers moving close in provided some relief with close fire support once the debacle was realized. Again, no good way to invade a continent prepared with well developed defenses. The campaign up Italy which preceded the Normandy invasion is a fascinating study.

Last edited by crothers; 06-06-2015 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:17 AM
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I read the bombing was perpendicular to the coast line which created the FF concerns/issues. If there is any measure of accuracy to this, why the heck didn't make bombing runs parallel to the beaches?

Another question watching all the docu-dramas the past weeks...

Why the sam hill did the USoA field that main gun on the Sherman? We should have had plenty of intel on what happened to the Brits when engaging Tigers and Panzers and yet we brought a pea-shooter to the fight. Took us way too long to rectify that error too!
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by YFMF View Post
Anyone else?
Yes, my Dad. Landed at Utah and has asked the same question. He said he knows how Picket's boys felt.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:17 AM
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Always wondered the same things, but a Monday morning quarterback is almost always right.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:38 AM
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How about the troops charging out of the trenches in WWI!
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
How about the troops charging out of the trenches in WWI!
Or the Brits standing shoulder to shoulder in the revolutionary war... Always blew me away...
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:09 AM
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Not to get off track but often wonder in the revolutionary war and civil war did they even find each other to fight? You could've wandered around in the woods for months before engaging the enemy.

Back to D-DAY I could not imagine the courage it must have took to storm up a beach against a well entrenched and fortified enemy
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Hagar TH View Post
Yes, my Dad. Landed at Utah and has asked the same question. He said he knows how Picket's boys felt.
Pickett`s charge. And now 2300 Humvees turned into 1 ton bombs.
Papa`s best friend and tail gunner died in his arms. War is a horrible thing.
Sadly, men and machines are nothing more than acceptable losses in many cases.

Napoleon lost an army of a million. Think about that for a minnow. They marched into Russia wearing summer clothes.

Last edited by gofastsandman; 06-06-2015 at 09:44 AM. Reason: They died slowly and painfully.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nevermind... View Post
I read the bombing was perpendicular to the coast line which created the FF concerns/issues. If there is any measure of accuracy to this, why the heck didn't make bombing runs parallel to the beaches?

Another question watching all the docu-dramas the past weeks...

Why the sam hill did the USoA field that main gun on the Sherman? We should have had plenty of intel on what happened to the Brits when engaging Tigers and Panzers and yet we brought a pea-shooter to the fight. Took us way too long to rectify that error too!


When we landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 we had a general idea of their defenses. We had shelled and bombed the large main bunkers they had. The German Defenders under the command of General Erwin Rommel, someone who I see as a brilliant field commander, unfortunately, he was a Nazi. Rommel had actually placed large telephone poles inside this bunkers and made them stick out of the front. Because of poor cameras on our recon planes we could only see large shadows on the ground beneath the bunker and a large "gun barrel" sticking out.

In response to you saying "why didn't we make bombing runs parallel to the beach", I do have to admit it was stupid of us to not do that. However if we would have done that using our B-25's and B-26's we would have exposed them to antiaircraft fire. More of the target is exposed and easier to lead and kill. It would have caused many more airmen lives to be lost. The germans not only had phenomenal beach defenses, they had incredible air defenses.

I do agree it was stupid for us to bring Sherman's. There were actually more tanks used in the invasion. If you look on the web or may already know "Horberts Funnies" these were tanks that were specially designed to breach the defenses. These included the flail tank which was an M4 Sherman with rotating drum on the front that had chains on it to blow up mines. We simply could not bring heavier tanks aboard the Landing Crafts and we also did not have any "Heavy Tank" during that time. We only operated on small, fast M4 medium tanks that were mainly only there for infantry support.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by r.waddill View Post

Back to D-DAY I could not imagine the courage it must have took to storm up a beach against a well entrenched and fortified enemy
I agree Russ ..... Balls of steel......
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:40 AM
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We can certainly be grateful for:
- Patton's ghost army that kept the Germans guessing where the "real" invasion would happen.
- The Russians for tying up so many German troops on the Eastern Front and doing a very good job of chewing them to pieces.

If the Germans could have had all their attention focused on Normandy, D-Day may well have been a colossal failure.

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Old 06-06-2015, 12:31 PM
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Amateurs think tactics Pros think logistics. Normandy had the best sand for compaction properties.The major alternative to NW Europe land invasion was through the "soft underbelly" proposed by Churchill atone time. England was the aircraft carrier and staging ground for the invasion. the supply route via Southern France or Italy Greece Balkans would be unbelievable complex and slow. Plus the mountains. Churchill was right about the Ruskies. Didn't want to give them anything but at what cost?. Plus he was a witty but pompous aristocrat who couldn't even get re-elected in his own country.

England provided the aircraft carrier Russia supplied the bodies and we supplied the $$$.

See Private Ryan war is a fucking bitch even at it's best in this the "Good War". The only reason they can still sell it is by eliminating the draft , 100% censorship of what is happening to young men on the ground, and of course religion lies and and $$$$$$

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Old 06-06-2015, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by LI Sound Grunt View Post
Amateurs think tactics Pros think logistics. Normandy had the best sand for compaction properties.The major alternative to NW Europe land invasion was through the "soft underbelly" proposed by Churchill atone time. England was the aircraft carrier and staging ground for the invasion. the supply route via Southern France or Italy Greece Balkans would be unbelievable complex and slow. Plus the mountains. Churchill was right about the Ruskies. Didn't want to give them anything but at what cost?. Plus he was a pompous
My list should have included General George Marshall- he was the US expert at logistics.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nevermind... View Post
Why the sam hill did the USoA field that main gun on the Sherman? We should have had plenty of intel on what happened to the Brits when engaging Tigers and Panzers and yet we brought a pea-shooter to the fight. Took us way too long to rectify that error too!
U.S. armor doctrine of the day said that medium tanks supported the infantry. Specialized tank destroyers were meant for combatting enemy tanks. German doctrine called for tanks to combat other tanks (due to lessons learned from the Soviets). Hence the Germans high-velocity guns vs US medium velocity guns on the Sherman.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
My list should have included General George Marshall- he was the US expert at logistics.
Good Call.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:15 PM
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Ironically I hosted a group of scientists from our local University of great prowess for a shoot just this morning where most, if not all of them, got to shoot an M1 Garand and M1 Carbine for the first time. The marvel of those guys carrying that Garand and a belt full of clips and another 75 pounds of gear up that beach and into those woods is amazing to me. Handing that gear and trying it on gives you a new respect for what our greatest generation gave up for us.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tread_Head57 View Post
U.S. armor doctrine of the day said that medium tanks supported the infantry. Specialized tank destroyers were meant for combatting enemy tanks. German doctrine called for tanks to combat other tanks (due to lessons learned from the Soviets). Hence the Germans high-velocity guns vs US medium velocity guns on the Sherman.
The Germans had standardized on the 88 mm for their AA, Tanks, and field artillery. the US used the 75mm in their tanks and small field howitzers. The 90 mm was used in US heavy field artillery and the AA guns. Dad was in the Artillery and commanded a AA battery and during the Bulge Battle they were moved to the front with their 90 mm AA guns deployed as secondary defense against the Panzers in the probable event that the Germans would over run the Shermans with their lighter armor and 75 mm guns. In his diary he wrote " The 90mm AA guns firing modified armor piercing ammunition did a good job on the Panzers. Firing nearly horizontal we managed to kill 6 advancing tanks thus stopping the advance in our sector" "Balls of steel" indeed
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:54 PM
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I was reading about the comparison of Gettysburg and Normandy the other day.

Gettysburg had over 51,000 casualties with about 7000 killed vs Normandy with about 10,000 and 2500 killed.

I can only imagine the primitive medical treatment received during the Civil War.
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:58 PM
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My Dad was an Army AA artillary officer landed at Normandy and also took part inth ebuldge

Here is one plane they shot down(got 5 in one day in Belgium I think) . The onlypic I have of him in Uniform - got married 6 days before he went to Europe for the duration. the Honeymooned in NYC for the week.

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